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Importance of Nro and Nre Accounts Explored

If you’re an Indian living abroad, you may find yourself needing to manage finances and assets back home. The Indian government offers two special bank accounts just for you: the Non-Resident External (NRE) account and the Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) account. 

This article covers the key differences between these two types of accounts are important for NRIs and PIOs.

What is an NRE account?

NRE stands for Non-Resident External. An NRE account can be opened by an NRI or a PIO in India. It is designated in Indian Rupees (INR).

Some key features of an NRE Account:

  • It is used to hold funds earned outside India as income. This includes overseas employment income, interest income, investment income, etc. 
  • An NRE account can be opened as a savings, current, recurring or fixed deposit account.
  • Principal and interest earned in an NRE account are fully repatriable and tax-free in India. This means funds can be freely transferred abroad without any tax. 

NRE accounts are a convenient option for NRIs/PIOs to manage their foreign earnings in India. Just remember, only another NRI/PIO can be a joint account holder.

What is an NRO account? 

NRO expands to Non-Resident Ordinary. An NRO account can also be opened in India by an NRI/PIO. Key features:

  • It is used to manage funds earned as income in India. This includes income like rent, dividends, interest, salary, etc., earned in India.
  • An NRO account can also be opened as a savings, current, recurring or fixed deposit account. 
  • Interest earned in an NRO account is taxable in India at 30% TDS (tax deducted at source). Further taxes may apply.

Joint NRO accounts allow NRIs/PIOs to manage their India-sourced earnings. You can withdraw up to USD 1 million per financial year without any special permission. For larger withdrawals, you will need special permission from RBI.

Key differences between NRE and NRO accounts

While both NRE and NRO accounts offer specialised services to NRIs/PIOs, there are some fundamental differences between them:

  • NRE accounts hold foreign earnings, while NROs hold Indian earnings.
  • NRE interest is tax-free in India, and NRO interest is taxable. 
  • NRE accounts have no restrictions on the repatriation of funds abroad. NRO accounts allow free repatriation only up to USD 1 million per financial year.
  • An NRE account can only be jointly held with an NRI/PIO. An NRO account can be jointly held even with a resident Indian.

Understanding these key differences between NRE and NRO accounts is crucial for proper financial management.

Who can open an NRE account?

The following categories of people can open an NRE account:

  • Non-resident Indians (NRIs)
  • People of Indian Origin (PIOs)
  • Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders

The account can be opened individually or jointly with another NRI/PIO. Resident Indians cannot open a joint NRE account. 

Who can open an NRO account?

The below categories of people are eligible to open an NRO account: 

  • Non-resident Indians (NRIs)
  • People of Indian Origin (PIOs) 
  • Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders

Additionally, resident Indians are also permitted to open joint NRO accounts with NRIs/PIOs.

Therefore, the rules on who can open NRE and NRO accounts are quite clear: NRIs, PIOs and OCIs can open both independently. For joint accounts, NRE is restricted to NRIs/PIOs, while NRO permits resident account holders too.

Benefits of an NRE account

There are several advantages of opening an NRE account:

  • Tax-Free Interest Earnings

The main incentive for parking foreign funds in an NRE account is that the interest earned is completely tax-free in India. There is zero tax deducted, offering better returns.

  • Free Remittances and Repatriation

There are no restrictions on outward remittances from an NRE account. You can freely transfer funds abroad from an NRE account. This helps expatriates to access their foreign earnings conveniently. 

  • Currency and Tenure Flexibility 

An NRE account not only offers savings/current accounts but also recurring deposits and fixed deposits in Indian Rupees. This allows flexibility to earn higher interest income.

  • Operative Ease

An NRE account can be jointly held with another NRI, eliminating difficulties in handling investments. You can also appoint a Power of Attorney in India to manage the account operations.

Clearly, the benefits of an NRE account are manifold when it comes to conveniently managing hard-earned money as an NRI.

Benefits of an NRO account

While the NRE account safeguards NRI earnings abroad, an NRO account also comes with unique advantages:

  • Accepts Indian Earnings

The NRO account allows NRIs to accumulate income generated from Indian sources conveniently in one place. This includes rental income, dividends, interests, etc. 

  • Local Usage Ease

Funds from an NRO account can be easily utilised for expenses incurred locally in India during visits or for investments and asset purchases.

  • Fixed Deposit Interest Rates

While interest earned on savings account deposits is taxable, NRO fixed deposits often offer higher interest rates at par with resident accounts.

  • Joint Holding Facility 

An NRO account can be jointly held with resident relatives too. This allows trusted family members to operate the account when required conveniently.

As is evident, the benefits of an NRO account centre around channelling India-based income and holdings to fulfil priorities in India.


For NRIs and PIOs, understanding the difference between NRE and NRO accounts is important for efficient money management. NRE is for foreign earnings and offers tax-free income and easy remittances, while NRO is for Indian income for local needs. Using both accounts as per personalised priorities takes smart planning. With clear regulations, specialised products, and digital banking, managing your money should no longer be a difficult task for global Indians pursuing overseas opportunities.


What is the main difference between an NRE and an NRO account?

The key difference is that the NRE account is for parking funds earned abroad, while the NRO account is meant for money earned in India. So the NRE account holds your foreign income like overseas salary, while the NRO consolidates your Indian income like rentals.

As an NRI, can I freely send money from my NRE account abroad?

Yes, definitely! One of the biggest benefits of an NRE account is that it allows completely free remittances overseas anytime, as per your needs. There are no restrictions on transferring funds abroad from your NRE account.

I have an existing savings account in India. Can I convert that to an NRO account?

Unfortunately no. As an NRI, you cannot hold residential savings or current accounts. You need to specifically open an NRE or NRO account after getting your NRI status. Existing accounts have to be closed by you before leaving India for good.

 I earn money both in India and abroad. Can I open both NRE and NRO accounts?

For sure! As an NRI with both Indian and overseas income sources, the ideal combination for you is to open both an NRE and an NRO account. Park your foreign earnings in NRE and use NRO for handling Indian income. 

Is the interest earned on NRO accounts tax-free for NRIs?

No, unlike NRE accounts, interest earned on an NRO account is taxable for NRIs. Currently, 30% TDS is applicable on interest earned on NRO accounts. Further taxes may apply depending on your income tax slab.

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